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18 Sep, 2018 15:15

Netanyahu tells Putin he expresses regret at loss of Russian lives

Israeli PM Netanyahu has expressed “regret” to Vladimir Putin over the downing of Russia’s Il-20 plane. He pinned the blame for the incident on Syria, but added that Moscow and Tel Aviv should continue coordinating their efforts.

“Netanyahu stressed the importance of continuing coordination in the security area between Israel and Russia, which prevented many losses on the both sides over the past three years,” the press service said on Tuesday, after Putin and the Israeli PM spoke by telephone.

In line with Israel’s previous statements, Netanyahu blamed the Syrian military for the incident.

He promised to share all the information with Russia to assist with the investigation into the plane’s downing. He added that the Israeli Air Force chief was ready to go to Moscow personally to further collaborate in relation to the incident.

The Russian Il-20 aircraft, with 15 crew members on board, was shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile late on Monday. Syrian air defenses were trying to repel an Israeli attack on their positions in the northwestern province of Latakia. The Russian military pinned the blame for the incident on Tel Aviv, accusing its jets of using the Russian plane for “cover” during the strikes.

The incident has heated up political tensions and raised questions as to whether relations between Russia and Israel would be impacted following the destruction of the plane and the tragic loss of life.

Earlier on Tuesday, Putin commented on the downing of the aircraft. He said that it was a tragedy, but the incident “looks like a chain of tragic circumstances, because the Israeli plane didn’t shoot down our jet.” Russia is to launch an investigation as well as boost security for Russian troops in Syria. Putin did not specifically detail which steps will be taken in relation to security, but said that these will be “steps that everyone will notice.”

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